By Kevin Zhang
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong will plead guilty in the city’s largest case over the national security law, after being detained for more than a year without being given a trial date under the law.
The jailed former student leader is among 29 democracy advocates expected to plead guilty over charges of subversion linked to a primary held in July of 2020, according to local media outlets such as HK01.
Former professor of law Benny Tai, ex-lawmaker Claudia Mo, protest organizer Jimmy Sham, and others were also subjected to the charges, and are expected to accept them.
18 other defendants, including former lawmaker Leung “Long hair” Kwok-hung, are not to plead guilty, according to local media.
A day prior to the announcement of the expected guilty pleas, Justice Secretary Paul Lam had ordered the case to be tried by a panel of three handpicked judges rather than a jury. Most of the plea intentions, however, were received between June 1 and July 6, according to Ming Pao, a local newspaper.
47 activists are currently being prosecuted over their role in organizing a vote that attracted more than 600,000 people to vote and choose candidates for Legislative Council elections. Authorities allege that the event was part of an attempt to subvert the government.
Around 30 of the defendants have been held without bail for more than a year, under the Beijing-drafted National Security Law, signed into law in June 2020, which carries sentences up to life in prison.
Hong Kong courts have also revoked requests for bail for two defendants in the past year, and have reconvicted those who have tried to fight security law charges in court battles.
Police in Hong Kong have made up to 215 arrests, of which 114 have been prosecuted by the government.